15 awesome Chat GPT prompts for spreadsheet users

This is a collection of awesome Chat GPT prompts to power-up your spreadsheet game. We will look at general prompts for all spreadsheet apps, and then we will go into specific prompts for Google Sheets or Excel. Finally, we will explore how AI can help you bring regular expressions into your spreadsheets.

We consider these prompts to be awesome because of their power, not necessarily because of their complexity. Matter of fact, most are pretty simple and straightforward.

Let’s get into it! Hopefully after trying out a few of these yourself you will get ideas to create prompts of your own.

ChatGPT for spreadsheets

These are awesome Chat GPT prompts that are useful for any spreadsheet software. Whether you are using LibreOffice Calc or Google Sheets, these are great to keep handy.

Almost, if not all, prompts will consist of two parts: instructions and context. Usually for AI context is everything and this is no exception; without it Chat GPT won’t be able to be of much help.

As a rule of thumb almost every prompt will require sample data from your spreadsheet. Just copy and paste the header and the first row from the spreadsheet into your prompt. This will allow ChatGPT to get a sense of what each column is and what kind of data it holds.

Create a formula

Chat GPT can churn out great formulas to help analyze data and get work done. For this use case, specifying the purpose of the formula in detail is really important.

It’s also a good idea to double check the results of the suggested formula. To do this, you can incorporate it into your spreadsheet and make sure the results are what you are looking for. If they aren’t, feeding Chat GPT the expected result might be all it needs to fix the formula.

Generate a formula for [SPREADSHEET_SOFTWARE] based on the information provided below (don’t go over the process unless asked), then provide instructions on how to include it in my spreadsheet.

PURPOSE >

SAMPLE DATA >

Break down a formula

Formulas can be pretty daunting, particularly if they are too long and include several functions. In cases like this, it’s always a great idea to analyze each of its parts separately and then put them together.

A little tip, when trying to dissect a formula your first impulse might be to read it from left to right. While sometimes that gets the job done, for formulas that are too long it is best to do the opposite. Starting from the inner parts of the formula and working your way out is usually a better idea.

Otherwise, you might want to try this prompt. Its output will walk you through all the functions being used, while mapping ranges to actual concepts.

Break down the following formula into its constituent functions and operations. Explain each step in detail. If I provide sample data, refer to columns by their header name. The beginning of your analysis should include the formula with no preamble.

FORMULA >

SAMPLE DATA >

Troubleshoot formulas

We’ve all been there, you spent a lot of time on a formula but can’t get it to work. Usually it’s a great idea to step away and revisit your spreadsheet later, but often that’s a luxury we can’t afford. When you are pressed for time, Chat GPT can be really helpful.

This is an awesome Chat GPT prompt not only to get your formula to work but also to learn. The suggested fix might include functions you don’t know or solutions you hadn’t considered.

Troubleshoot the following formula I created for [SOFTWARE].

FORMULA >

ERROR MESSAGE >

SAMPLE DATA >

Pick up new features

Spreadsheets are really complex tools, and chances are you still have features to explore (if you don’t, we want to meet you!).

Surely you can relate to the feeling of learning about a new function and thinking to yourself “I should have known this ages ago”.

Get ahead of the game with this prompt and find out new useful features for your projects. In this case, most of the context is completely optional, provide it only if you want a personalized answer.

Teach me how to use a [SPREADSHEET_SOFTWARE] function or feature that might come in handy for my work.

FUNCTIONS I KNOW >

PROJECT DESCRIPTION >

Create sample data

Creating sample data is most useful when trying to showcase or learn certain spreadsheet features. It is often time consuming and results vary depending on your knowledge of the topics this data is built around.

All you need to do is tell ChatGPT what the data should be about and it will generate a spreadsheet for you in no time. By default this will generate 20 rows of data, change that according to your needs. 

Generate a spreadsheet with real-looking information. The output should be in tsv format. Its content should look real and consistent. As appropriate, these real values should either be consistent (the cost and category of a specific item should be the same in a sales data sheet) or random (the date when these sales were made should reflect actual sales spread, more than one sale can be made in a single day). Unless otherwise specified generate 20 rows of sample data.

 

When creating a new spreadsheet you will follow a series of steps. 1) Acknowledge this first prompt. 2) Give possible column headers for this spreadsheet, I will ask you to edit these as necessary. 3) Once the header is established you will proceed to generate the spreadsheet.

 

SAMPLE DATA TOPIC >

Generate exercises

If you want to generate exercises to learn new spreadsheet skills, it saves a lot of time to have Chat GPT craft them. Use this prompt to avoid the hassle of generating sample data and to ask for tips if you get stuck.

Generate a training exercise for [FEATURE/FUNCTION] on [SPREADSHEET_SOFTWARE]. Provide sample data to work with. Don’t provide the solution, I will request it if I can’t solve it myself.

ChatGPT for Google Sheets

Adapt an Excel formula for Google Sheets

Formulas might break in the process of transferring data from Google Sheets to Excel. This is to be expected, as both tools don’t have the exact same features or functions.

It is really important to clarify what version of Excel you are using as Microsoft updates it often.

Adapt the following Excel [EXCEL_VERSION] formula to Google Sheets. If this can’t be resolved with another formula then provide a workaround, this workaround may include third party tools.

FORMULA >

SAMPLE DATA >

Improve collaboration

It is usually pretty challenging to design spreadsheets that will be easily understood by everybody who will be using them. This is an awesome Chat GPT prompt to improve teamwork and avoid misunderstandings.

Note: For this use case attach a csv or tsv file for Chat GPT to analyze. This will provide better context and, in turn, you will get better suggestions.

Give me specific tips on how to improve the attached Google Sheets spreadsheet for the purpose of collaboration with my team. Only provide these personalized suggestions if you see room for improvement. Covered topics may include but are not limited to: header names, header order, better nomenclature for columns that hold category information, adding contextual information regarding how to use the spreadsheet. Don’t give me general suggestions and don’t worry about formatting.

Migrate to Google Sheets

There are a lot of reasons to ditch your old spreadsheet software and migrate to Google Sheets. The main reasons are that it’s free, it makes collaboration easy and it’s cloud-based so your files are always available.

Learning how to use new software is always a difficult process. Features you were used to might be slightly different or entirely missing. Also, you might miss out on features the new tool offers because you don’t know of their existence.

Context is not so important for this prompt because basic differences will be relevant regardless of the reasons for the change.

I am an  [USER_LEVEL] of [SPREADSHEET_SOFTWARE] and I will migrate to using Google Sheets. Give me a list of important things I should know to make this transition easy and so I can make the most of this new tool.

MIGRATION REASON >

DATA TO BE PROCESSED >

Ready to streamline your data?

ChatGPT for Excel

Excel is a powerhouse of spreadsheet software, it offers great features for data analysis, visualization, and complex calculations. Understand how to use AI to enhance your Excel experience to significantly improve productivity and data handling efficiency.

Adapt a Google Sheets formula for Excel

Google Sheets and Excel share many similarities in their formula syntax and functions. This makes it possible to adapt formulas from one platform to the other with minimal adjustments.

However, there are instances where certain Google Sheets functions don’t have a direct counterpart in Excel or work differently. And in those cases having ChatGPT adapt formulas can save you a lot of headaches.

Adapt the following Google Sheets formula to Excel [EXCEL_VERSION]. If this can’t be resolved with another formula then provide a workaround, this workaround may include third party tools.

FORMULA >

SAMPLE DATA >

Migrate to Excel

Excel boasts of some unique features especially when compared to Google Sheets. The biggest benefit of working with Excel is its data processing capabilities. On the other hand, working with large spreadsheets on the cloud can really slow things to a halt. 

Excel is the oldest of all spreadsheet programs, over the years it has set the path for the competition to follow. This means that most of these alternatives are quite similar, but counterintuitively this might make it harder to change tools. You might lose time looking for features that you expect but don’t exist.

This prompt is a lifesaver if you are trying to learn Excel. Use it to learn what differences to look out for and which features to investigate.

I am an  [USER_LEVEL] of [SPREADSHEET_SOFTWARE] and I will migrate to using Excel [EXCEL_VERSION]. Give me a list of important things I should know to make this transition easy and so I can make the most of this new tool.

MIGRATION REASON >

DATA TO BE PROCESSED >

ChatGPT for regular expressions

Regular expressions, also known as regex, are sequences of characters used to define flexible search patterns. They are a great complement to spreadsheets because they allow you to extract, match and replace values.

Regular expressions remain an elusive topic even for a lot of people who’ve studied them. However, these awesome Chat GPT prompts should bring this powerful tool out of obscurity and into your day to day. What’s best? You don’t even have to understand the output to get it to work.

It’s important to keep in mind that regular expressions have a wide range of applications that extend far beyond spreadsheets. This means it’s a good idea to let Chat GPT know where you’ll be using the output. Additionally, it means all the following prompts can be used for projects that expand beyond spreadsheets.

Understand a regular expression

Even if you have a lot of experience with regular expressions they are still hard to read. For this tedious task, a little help always comes in handy. This prompt will break down the expression and it will even try to guess a possible application.

Break down the following regular expression. Separate it into different parts and mention what types of strings it might match. Venture a hypothesis of what this regular expression can be used for.

REGULAR EXPRESSION >

Create a regular expression

With this prompt creating a regular expression is super easy. All you need are two lists of strings: one you want to match and another you don’t. This will provide the building blocks for Chat GPT to know what you are looking for.

Generate a regular expression for [SPREADSHEET_SOFTWARE]. I will provide a list of strings it should match and a list of strings it shouldn’t match.

CONTEXT > 

MUST MATCH >

DON’T MATCH >

You will probably have to test the output against real data and check if there are any false positives (i.e. strings the expressions shouldn’t have matched but did). Then iterate the regular expression until you are happy with the results.

Generate a list of strings that would match a regex

This is a really powerful prompt to improve an existing regex. By seeing the strings a regular expression would match you can get a sense of how fine tuned your expression really is. What’s more, by pushing a regular expression to its limits it can help you find loopholes.

Give me a list of 10 strings that would match the following regular expression. Of those 10 strings, generate 5 that are reasonable matches and 5 that push the regular expression to its limits.

REGULAR EXPRESSION >

Troubleshoot a regular expression

Troubleshooting is a natural part of working with regex, there are often many possible matches that are easy to overlook. This is a straightforward prompt, but it is an invaluable tool to iterate your expressions to perfection.

Troubleshoot the following regular expression.

REGULAR EXPRESSION >

EXPECTED BEHAVIOR > 

PROBLEM >

Conclusion

That’s it for now! All of these awesome chat gpt prompts will take your use of spreadsheets to the next level. Now you can get your work done faster and more efficiently.

As a nice complement, you can create your own regular expressions with little knowledge of how they actually work.

Check out our post on How to generate Google Sheets formulas with AI for an in-depth comparison of using different AIs to generate formulas.

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